Questions For Tonight’s Democratic Debate

As I sit here, just off the coast of Maine, I see politicians, minions, reporters and spin-doctors scurrying around the state of New Hampshire, kissing babies, shaking hands, eating lobster rolls and pancakes, and generally tying up traffic. Having already asked questions of the republicans, I now set my sights on the democrats, and a little bit more seriously (and not in verse, sorry).

I’ve seen the various attempts at representing the atheists of Iowa, and how safely republicans can simply disregard the heathen questioner, appeal to their religious base, and turn the question into a money-making campaign mailing. So, frankly, there is no reason to waste time asking the GOP candidates, and very little reason asking any candidate in Iowa. But New Hampshire is considerably different. New Hampshire has significantly more self-identified atheists, and fewer self-identified evangelicals. So, my question, framed in rough-hewn New Hampshire granite, is this:

New Hampshire is the home of Robert Frost, who wrote “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall…” Over the past years, and over the past months of the GOP campaign, the wall of separation between church and state has been under attack, by those who would give their own religious views a privileged place in our government.

In New Hampshire, we know the value of that wall; we know that both church and state are protected when that wall is strong. I ask the candidates: as president, what will you do to protect that wall?

Your turn. What questions would you ask of the candidates? Or do you just want them to shut up and go away already? (I do know that if I don’t utterly wear out the mute button on my television, I will consider it a modern miracle.)


  1. redwood says

    Keeping with the Frost theme: “Could you describe your own desert places?” (What scares you the most?)

  2. redwood says

    Or “Do you think design governs in a thing so small?” (What do you think of intelligent design?)

    Or “Do you think the world will end in fire or ice?”

    Actually, now that I think about it, these questions would be better for the authoritarian, fundamentalist Republicans. Sorry!

  3. whheydt says

    Aside from wishing they’d all go away… What I want each asked is to quote the *last* phrase of the Oath of Office for the President as it is written in the Constitution. I am more interested in answers that *aren’t* “…so help me God”, because that *isn’t* in the Constitution. They will get extra points if they can correctly recite the whole Oath as written. More bonus points for citing the where the Oath is specified in the Constitution (Article II, Section I, Paragraph 8).

  4. AlexanderZ says


    *Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
    I wouldn’t even know what to ask them because I don’t think An Answer can provide much useful information. It can only tell what kind of voter the candidates are courting at that moment. Which is a useful thing for a voter to know, but since I’m not one I can only look at the overall history, actions and the sum of all statements by a candidate to determine how I feel about them.

  5. says

    State shall stay free of Religion’s will,
    But don’t throw out “Thou shalt not kill.”
    So, Dems, how will you stop all wars,
    Or are you all military whores?

  6. nahuati says

    Yay, Cuttlefish! It’s great to see you’re back. Excellent question for the democratic debate.

    I don’t have any questions for the debate, but I sure hope the candidates aren’t asked any ageist questions this time. Since Anderson Cooper was playfully called out on ageism recently by Sanders, maybe it won’t be an issue.

  7. anchor says

    “What questions would you ask of the candidates?”

    I fully concur. Your question is mine.


    Now how do we get to ask it?

  8. says

    Let’s see…

    “Both the CIA and an independent academic study — and, I might add, the common sense of anyone with any imagination — have concluded that drone bombing actually creates more terrorists than it can possibly stop, even assuming (as the military does) that the targets are all terrorists. If elected, will you stop drone bombing, and if not what is your justification for continuing the practice?”

    (n.b. IIRC, this is an issue on which both Sanders and Clinton fall down — neither one is anti-drone. Clinton is actively pro-drone — as she is pro-war in general — and I recall Sanders says drone bombing is a tactic which is too useful to be discarded, or something like that.)

    “What steps, specifically, will you take to address the militarization of the police?”

    “The NSA has been caught trading people’s private pictures for their amusement, has been caught spying without grounds on employees’ friends and relatives, has been caught blatantly disobeying the rules which are supposed to govern who they spy on and how they pass that evidence along to law enforcement, but they have apparently not been able to stop any terrorist attacks or attempts — at this point, everyone knows they’re spying on digital communications, so there’s no point in not taking credit for it, and they haven’t. What steps, specifically, will you take to curb the excesses of the NSA in light of the fact that, at this point, they do not perform their intended function and take many illegal actions?”

  9. Al Dente says

    My questions:

    The US Navy as 75 submarines with 16 more authorized to be built. Why do we need such a big submarine force? This is a subset of the general question: Why does the US spend approximately 50% of the world’s defense budgets? What will you do to downsize the military?


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